Life/Reading Update

Things have been a bit bleh over the last couple of weeks. I was sick with a cold about two weeks ago (which I am still trying to get over) so I haven’t been reading or blogging that much. Things feel like they are starting to get a bit more on track now but I’m still not fully there.

This week I started reading The Poppy War by R.F.Kuang. I am absolutely LOVING it. If you have heard all of the hype about this book, I think I can say very confidently that this is one of those circumstances where it definitely lives up to it’s positive reviews.

My plan this month is to read Red Sister and Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence, as I have heard that these books are pretty awesome as well. After that, the aim is pretty much just to keep getting through my never-ending TBR pile…which seems to keep getting bigger…and bigger.

I got to meet Jay Kristoff at his LIFEL1K3 book launch when he came to Brissie a few weeks back. It was really awesome being able to meet one of my favourite authors and tell him how much his books mean to me.

Other than that, things have been pretty quiet. My mental health has taken a bit of a swing over the last few weeks and, like I said at the start, I am just feeling a bit bleh. I think I need to take a break from twitter as I find I am getting more and more annoyed about book twitter and people complaining all of the time. And what annoys me even more is that I complain as well, and I don’t want to be that person. I want to make people happy, but I feel like I can’t do that at the moment. And then there’s my sense of humour….which only one or two people really get anyway.

I am also going through a phase where I worry if people like me, and I worry if I have angered someone, where I am going in life, where my place is, where I fit in….the list goes on. I feel like I was going good, but then I have just felt really….unsettled, and now I am full of self-doubt. I generally don’t talk to people about these things anymore because, if you suffer from mental illness you will understand this, I feel I have said the same thing a thousand times and I am just annoying people by talking about it. It can fell like such a burden to offload on someone, so most of the time it honestly feels like it’s better to just go through it alone.

Anyways, that’s about it. I hope everyone is going well and you are all reading super awesome books. Did you get up to anything fun in May? What are you currently reading?

Steff xx

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A Review: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

I was incredibly excited about reading Spinning Silver because I absolutely loved Uprooted. Unfortunately, this book didn’t really live up to my expectations which makes me SUPER SAD because I really, really wanted to love it. Like, you have NO IDEA.

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Synopsis

Miryem is the daughter and granddaughter of moneylenders… but her father isn’t a very good one. Free to lend and reluctant to collect, he has loaned out most of his wife’s dowry and left the family on the edge of poverty–until Miryem steps in. Hardening her heart against her fellow villagers’ pleas, she sets out to collect what is owed–and finds herself more than up to the task. When her grandfather loans her a pouch of silver pennies, she brings it back full of gold.

But having the reputation of being able to change silver to gold can be more trouble than it’s worth–especially when her fate becomes tangled with the cold creatures that haunt the wood, and whose king has learned of her reputation and wants to exploit it for reasons Miryem cannot understand.

My Review

I went into this book not really knowing what it was about. I actually don’t like reading the synopsis of a story before reading it…which is actually super weird considering I like to skim through a book to get spoilers. I had heard it was another fairy tale retelling, and this time it was based on Rumpelstiltskin (a story I had completely forgotten about until I picked this book up). The writing was beautiful and it really sucked me in from the first page and the world-building can only be described as magical. It was for her writing alone that I stayed with this story, otherwise honestly I might have stopped reading half way through.

Now, it’s not that I hated the characters or the plot. I just felt like I didn’t really build much of a relationship with the characters. There were 6 points of view, and sometimes I found it hard to figure out who was talking. To me, the characters lacked warmth, but then I don’t know if that was deliberate because the world that this was based in was hard and unforgiving. Some of the PoV’s at times felt a bit pointless, when all they were talking about was feeding some goats or doing stuff around the house. Usually I wouldn’t mind the mundane stuff, but this kind of added to the slowness of the story.

Which brings me to my next point. This story is very, very slow. In the end it took me longer to read than I expected because I kept losing interest. Whenever something interesting would happen it would then switch back to another PoV, which made the pacing very choppy.

The ending is what ended up bothering me the most I think, and here is why.

***SPOILERS***

So, two of the main characters are in relationships that they absolutely 100% don’t want. Both main characters went so far as to even plan both of their deaths, they hated them that much. Over the last 100 pages the world goes to hell, and the main characters have to try to stop it….with the antagonists being both of their husbands – which is fitting because, you know, they hate them. But then by the last page, BOTH of the main characters are “in love” with their husbands (who are no longer the antagonists). It just….it just really feels like the characters went against their own morals to CHOOSE to be with husbands….all for a happily ever after. One of the husbands literally wanted to freeze everyone, and forced his wife to marry him and locked her away as a slave. The other husband constantly told his wife she was ugly and would draw pictures of her to figure out why everyone else looked at her like she had beauty. But then out of convenience they fell in love?!? I just don’t believe it to be honest. I was very, very dissatisfied with the ending.

***END OF SPOILERS***

Also as a warning, there is domestic violence in this story at the beginning of the book which could be triggering for some.

I understand there has been a lot of hype about this book, however I really feel like I have to be honest about how I felt reading this book. I do think a lot of people will love this book, however this one really was just not one for me.

3/5

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Thank you to Pan Macmillan for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

 

A Review: LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff

I’m slowly getting back up to date with my reviews, YAY!!!

So today, I am finally doing my review of LIFEL1K3 by Jay Kristoff. Now, Jay is one of my favourite authors. I absolutely LOVE Nevernight and the Illuminae Files. I therefore think that originally, my love for his other work made me biased towards LIFEL1K3. I will discuss below.

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Synopsis

On a floating junkyard beneath a radiation sky, a deadly secret lies buried in the scrap.

Eve isn’t looking for secrets—she’s too busy looking over her shoulder. The robot gladiator she’s just spent six months building has been reduced to a smoking wreck, and the only thing keeping her Grandpa from the grave was the fistful of credits she just lost to the bookies. To top it off, she’s discovered she can destroy electronics with the power of her mind, and the puritanical Brotherhood are building a coffin her size. If she’s ever had a worse day, Eve can’t remember it.

But when Eve discovers the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend Lemon Fresh and her robotic conscience, Cricket, in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, infiltrate towering megacities and scour the graveyard of humanity’s greatest folly to save the ones Eve loves, and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Even if those secrets were better off staying buried.  

My Review

So as I mentioned above, I was biased towards this book based on Jay’s other books. He is a really lovely guy, and his books changed my life. I therefore originally gave this book 4/5 stars. After some pondering and remembering what I did/didn’t like about it, I have taken a star off and instead give 3/5 stars.

The first thing that I didn’t like was the romance. Now, I don’t actually think the romance was supposed to be something we loved in the first place. It was a bit like instalove but also…not? I don’t know, it was really weird and made me uncomfortable because none of it really felt right. Ezekiel reminded me a bit too much of Edward Cullen from Twilight. He was just really protective and obsessed with Eve, even though she had no idea who the hell he was.

So the next thing I wasn’t a fan of, was the slang. But to be honest, I generally don’t like slang in any books so that one was just kind of a given.

My biggest issue with this book was the ableist words that were used, and repetitively. I really, REALLY did not like them. A character was nicknamed “Stumpy” because he only had one arm. And then he was also nicknamed “brain trauma” because he said he couldn’t remember something. And like I said, these weren’t one-off’s. It repeated throughout the whole book and I actually cringed the whole way through. I’m disappointed that these weren’t picked up in the editing process, it’s 2018, we should be far beyond issues like this.

Moving on, I have to say that I loved Lemon Fresh!!! She was such an awesome character, I really loved her. She was such a great friend to Eve, so it was pretty sad when Eve treated her pretty poorly. I can’t wait to see Lemon Fresh evolve. She is pretty much the main reason why I will be sticking with the books. Eve on the other hand…not a fan. But then for various reasons, I don’t think I was ever supposed to love her anyway.

I loved the world-building and the robots. I really love robots!!!!! Although I keep hearing that in the real world a lot of us will end up losing our jobs because of them…booooo.

I loved some of the questions that this book posed and the conflicting feelings I had in relation to those questions. Some questions that I have seen a lot over the years in particular with AI, is have they been programmed to feel a certain way or are those feelings real? How can AI actually prove that they are self-aware? I love pondering over these questions, so I loved that these were very much part of LIFEL1K3 and how I judged the non-human characters.

I didn’t like Cricket. He reminded me too much of the annoying robot Claptrap from the Borderlands games.

Which then brings me to the next thing I liked. I actually felt a real Borderlands vibe reading this book. I have played that game a fair bit and found it very similar, which I think also helped me build the world in my head.

Overall, I liked this book. Did I love it? I wouldn’t say I did. But I am excited to see where this series is heading especially after that twist at the end (which I have to say, I DID NOT see coming, but then also I generally never do).

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Have you read LIFEL1K3 yet? If so, what are your thoughts? Do you agree/disagree with any of my points above?

Steff xx

 

 

My 5 Favourite Book Friendships!!!

I have been thinking about friendships a lot lately, and the impact that they make on our lives. When reading books, I think friendships can really be overlooked because we are too busy hoping that the characters hook up with the ones they are interested in. So I thought I would give you all my 5 favourite friendships. Because sharing, is caring 🙂

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Clary and Simon – The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare

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Things were initially quite weird between these two best friends, however eventually everything evened out. What I absolutely love about this friendship is that it weathers MANY storms. They go through so many changes together and still they love each other unconditionally. Their relationship is very much ‘where one goes the other follows’ and it is so freaking sweet. These two really are friendship goals.

Karou and Zuzana – A Daughter of Smoke and Bone – Laini Taylor

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Zuzana knows that Karou is elusive and has stuff she is hiding, however she stays 100% loyal to her BFF. There is so much love between these two, and they would pretty much go to the ends of the earth for each other. One thing I adore about Zuzana is that, when she finds out the other side to Karou’s life, she jumps right in to help. I really feel like Zuzana is Karou’s “person” like Meredith and Christina. Zuzana would literally help Karou hide the dead bodies.

Darrow and Sevro – Red Rising – Pierce Brown

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I have such a soft spot for our little goblin. Sevro loves Darrow, and is such an amazing friend to him. I don’t know if Darrow is always the best friend back to him…actually that would probably definitely be a no. However you can’t deny that this is one friendship you really, really want to see make it – HEAR THAT PIERCE BROWN. WE WAN’T THEM TO MAKE IT. Sevro has saved Darrow’s ass too many times to count, and his unwavering loyalty is one of the many things I love about him. I didn’t mean for this to just be a raving about Sevro, but honestly, he really is the best.

Fitz and Nighteyes – The Realm of the Elderlings – Robin Hobb

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The bond between Fitz and Nighteyes is so wonderful and beautiful. Initially it didn’t look like they were going to like each other very much, but eventually these two really become one. Nighteyes is truly the best companion for Fitz and pretty much is the only one who is there for him unreservedly. Poor Fitz cops a lot of rejection, but Nighteyes is always there lurking in the background.

Manon and Abraxos – Throne of Glass – Sarah J Maas

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Ahhhh, one of the reasons this is one of my favourite friendships is because Abraxos showed us all that Manon has a soft side. This witch who loves no-one and is brutal as fuck, loves a wyvern that loves smelling flowers. It’s just so ironic and lovely, and the whole thing made me actually like Manon because initially I was like “who the fuck is this bitch”. These two should never ever ever be broken up. I am scared for their lives to be honest, especially with Kingdom of Ashes being released in October, knowing that the only character that is safe is Fleetfoot. Eeeeeeek.

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I hope you all enjoyed my favourite friendships! What are your favourite book friendships? Do you share any of my favourites listed above?? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below!

Steff xx